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Religion and American Culture

This interdisciplinary graduate seminar explores the role of religion in American culture and of religious studies in American culture studies. It is designed for students enrolled in the American Studies graduate program or the Religious Studies concentration of the Philosophy graduate program, and for graduate students affiliated with other departments in the humanities or social sciences who are working on projects involving American and/or religious topics.

The course is organized in two parts, historical and thematic. Part I takes a historical approach to the study of American religion; it provides students with a brief introduction to American religious studies, an essential background in American religious history, and a basic understanding of recent debates over American religious historiography. Part II takes a thematic approach to the study of American religion; students explore the role of religion in American culture, and of religious studies in American culture studies, by reading representative scholarship selected in light of the area rubrics of the American Studies graduate program: Gender Studies; Race, Class and Ethnicity; Southwest Studies; Popular Culture; Environment, Science and Technology. Throughout the semester, we attempt to evaluate the significance of religion as descriptive marker and as analytical category in the scholarship of American culture studies.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

James Treat

University of New Mexico

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Graduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, American Studies, Area Studies, History

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition

Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Popular Culture/Media/Music/Sports, Race/Ethnicity, Science/Technology/Environment

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